Four Noble Truths as questions

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Four Noble Truths as questions

Postby Stephen K » Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:49 am

What? Why? Where? How?

What is life? — Suffering.
Why is there suffering? — Because of craving.
Where does suffering cease? — In Nibbana.
How do you get to Nibbana? — By practicing the Path.
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Re: Four Noble Truths as questions

Postby Ben » Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:53 am

Hi Stefan
Looks good, however, I have a little bit of a problem with:
What is life? — Suffering.

It appears to be annihilationism to suggest that life is suffering, that there is no escape except through death.
kind regards

Ben
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Re: Four Noble Truths as questions

Postby Stephen K » Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:57 am

Hi Ben! :smile:

But Ajahn Brahm said it too:

In the same way, when you've had a good meditation, everything's nice and peaceful, you've got so much happiness, then you're much more open to seeing those insights which you would normally never allow yourself to contemplate. There's no-one here. Life is suffering. Everything is impermanent.

http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... nsight.htm

Metta!
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Re: Four Noble Truths as questions

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:04 am

Greetings,

Stefan wrote:What is life? — Suffering.

Hmmm... where in the 4NT does it say anything about life being this, or life being that?

Suffering is caused by craving.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Four Noble Truths as questions

Postby Stephen K » Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:06 am

OK, one more:

To use wisdom power means remembering the Teachings and looking at your experience in the framework of those teachings, the framework of the Four Noble Truths. The Lord Buddha taught that birth is suffering, old age, sickness and death are suffering. And all that goes in between is also suffering. In brief, life is suffering. So when suffering comes – as disappointment, as frustration, as loneliness or depression, or as wondering what you're supposed to be doing – you're seeing here a basic truth of nature which every human being, whether in a monastery or outside, must come across from time to time in their lives.


http://dhammatimes.blogspot.com/2007/09 ... ng-by.html

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Re: Four Noble Truths as questions

Postby Ben » Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:06 am

Hi Stefan

Stefan wrote:But Ajahn Brahm said it too


I understand its something that Ajahn said. I do not wish to deflate your confidence in his words or instructions.
metta

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Four Noble Truths as questions

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:07 am

If life is suffering, the Buddha suffered.

Is that what the Dhamma is about?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Four Noble Truths as questions

Postby Stephen K » Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:11 am

retrofuturist wrote:If life is suffering, the Buddha suffered.

Is that what the Dhamma is about?

Metta,
Retro. :)


Even Arahants, Enlightened monks and nuns, experience suffering. They are not released from suffering, they are still in the world, in jail. The main difference between an ordinary 'prisoner' and an Arahant is that the latter is certain to leave soon.

http://www.pathandfruit.com/Books3/Ajah ... NATION.htm
:smile:
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Re: Four Noble Truths as questions

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:18 am

They are not released from suffering, they are still in the world


So says Ajahn Brahma...

That's not how the Buddha defined the world.

SN 12.44: Loka Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"And what is the ending of the world? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises eye-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. Now, from the remainderless cessation & fading away of that very craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering. This is the ending of the world.


Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Four Noble Truths as questions

Postby Stephen K » Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:31 am

Perhaps the question could be phrased better as: "What does life contain?"

What do you think?


:smile:
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Re: Four Noble Truths as questions

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:51 am

Greetings Stefan,

Somewhere there's a sutta (and it's doubtlessly worded much better than this) where the Buddha says that there is both happiness and suffering in this world. He speaks about if there were all happiness, or if there were all suffering... but says that there is both. Alas, I can't quite remember exactly what he said, nor can I think of appropriate keywords by which to search for it online. I put that forward in the hope that you or someone else recognise the sutta I'm referring to and have better luck at finding it than me.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Four Noble Truths as questions

Postby Stephen K » Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:57 am

You mean the sutta on gratification, danger and escape? AN 3:102
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Re: Four Noble Truths as questions

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Jun 25, 2010 12:06 pm

How about this one Stefan:

"What is personality?" - Suffering!
"Why is there suffering?" - Because of craving!
"What is the end of craving?" - The end of suffering!
"How do we end suffering?" - By practicing the path!

The clinging-aggregates (pañc'upādānakkhandhā) are personality (sakkāya) [see: MN44] and the clinging-aggregates are suffering [see DN22], so personality is suffering, too.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
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Re: Four Noble Truths as questions

Postby Sobeh » Fri Jun 25, 2010 8:39 pm

It is important to note that the Buddha did not say life is suffering, as retrofuturist points out, but only said that here is this problem of suffering. If any Ajahn says that life is suffering, they are wrong and quoting them won't change that. "Life is suffering" it is nowhere attested in the Suttas. I also have a problem with 'nibbana' being an answer to a 'where' question.

In fact, I disagree with framing the Four Noble Truths as all being answers to questions in the first place. The first noble truth is in fact an assertion that "there is suffering", which is almost obvious (except perhaps for the nuance of separation from pleasure being suffering, alongside the common-sense 'contact with the unpleasant is suffering'). The second noble truth is an assertion dealing with the cause of the suffering outlined in the first noble truth, and so on: no questions, only assertions to do with suffering and the cessation of suffering, assertions to be actively investigated and then put into argent and diligent practice.
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Re: Four Noble Truths as questions

Postby bodom » Fri Jun 25, 2010 8:47 pm

On the four noble truths

A senior monk of the meditation tradition came to pay his respects to Luang Pu on the first day of the Rains Retreat in 1956. After giving him instruction and a number of teachings on profound matters, Luang Pu summarized the four noble truths as follows:

"The mind sent outside is the origination of suffering.
The result of the mind sent outside is suffering.
The mind seeing the mind is the path.
The result of the mind seeing the mind is the cessation of suffering."

http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... Legacy.htm

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Four Noble Truths as questions

Postby Alex123 » Fri Jun 25, 2010 8:52 pm

retrofuturist wrote:If life is suffering, the Buddha suffered.

Is that what the Dhamma is about?

Metta,
Retro. :)



He felt bodily pain. So in that sense he has experienced dukkha even when being The Buddha.
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: Four Noble Truths as questions

Postby bodom » Fri Jun 25, 2010 8:59 pm

Alex123 wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:If life is suffering, the Buddha suffered.

Is that what the Dhamma is about?

Metta,
Retro. :)



He felt bodily pain. So in that sense he has experienced dukkha even when being The Buddha.


If the mind is not pained along with the body, if there is no aversion to the pain, can it really be said to be suffering? Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Four Noble Truths as questions

Postby bodom » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:03 pm

Sallatha Sutta: The Arrow

"Now, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones, when touched with a feeling of pain, does not sorrow, grieve, or lament, does not beat his breast or become distraught. So he feels one pain: physical, but not mental. Just as if they were to shoot a man with an arrow and, right afterward, did not shoot him with another one, so that he would feel the pain of only one arrow. In the same way, when touched with a feeling of pain, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones does not sorrow, grieve, or lament, does not beat his breast or become distraught. He feels one pain: physical, but not mental.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Four Noble Truths as questions

Postby jcsuperstar » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:09 pm

i think it depends on how we use the word suffering.. this is why some feel dukkha should be left untranslated.

we say the Buddha was "free from suffering" what does that mean? that he didn't suffer or that suffering no longer kept him bound? is there a difference? let the arguments begin! :tongue:
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Four Noble Truths as questions

Postby Fede » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:21 pm

I prefer the word "Stress"

Stress denotes that occasionally, when emotions - any and every emotions - are pulled taut, or accentuated, there is stress.
Stress is not necessarily a bad thing. Stress is something that enables us to function at a more aware level.
DIS-Stress is when we feel a negative impact, and one which makes us wish that whatever is causing this distress would cease.
Stress is part of life. It reflects our state of mind and current and present ability to cope.

The secret is to view stress - and Distress - as two sides of the same coin....
and to not be affected either way, whichever way it falls when flipped.....
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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